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Pope Benedict's Angelus on Defending and Promoting Life

"A Primary Value That Must Be Acknowledged"

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 6, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave Sunday's before reciting the midday Angelus with people gathered in St. Peter's Square.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Today in Italy Pro-Life Day is being observed, which constitutes a precious occasion of prayer and reflection on the topics of the defense and promotion of human life, especially when it is found in conditions of difficulty. Present in St. Peter's Square are numerous lay faithful who work in this field, some committed in the Pro-Life Movement.

I address my cordial greetings to them, in particular to Cardinal Camillo Ruini, who is accompanying them, and I again express my appreciation for the work they do so that life will always be welcomed as gift and supported with love.

While I invite you to meditate on the message of the Italian bishops, which has as its topic "Respect of Life," I remember our beloved Pope John Paul II, who paid constant attention to these problems.

In particular, I would like to recall the encyclical "Evangelium Vitae," which he published in 1995, and which represents an authentic cornerstone in the Church's teaching on such a current, decisive question.

In framing the moral aspects in a broad spiritual and cultural context, my venerated predecessor confirmed on several occasions that human life is a primary value that must be acknowledged, and that the Gospel calls for it to always be respected.

In the light of my recent encyclical on Christian love, I would like to emphasize the importance of the "service of charity" in supporting the promotion of human life. In this connection, even before undertaking operative initiatives, it is essential to promote an appropriate "attitude to the other": The culture of life is based, in fact, on attention to others, without exclusions or discriminations.

"All" human life, as such, is worthy of and calls for always being defended and promoted. We know well that this truth runs the risk of being contradicted often by the widespread hedonism in the so-called welfare societies: Life is exalted while it is enjoyable, but there is a tendency to stop respecting it when it is sick or experiences some kind of disability.

Beginning, on the contrary, from profound love for every person, it is possible to apply effective forms of service to life: both the nascent as well as that marked by marginalization or suffering, especially in its terminal phase.

The Virgin Mary received with perfect love the word of life, Jesus Christ, who came into the world so that men "may have life, and have it abundantly" (John 10:10). We commend to her women who are expecting a child, families, health agents and volunteers committed in different ways in the service of life.

We pray, in particular, for people who are in situations of great difficulty.

[After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father greeted pilgrims in several languages. In English, he said:]

I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present for today's Angelus. May the healing power of Christ transform your lives and fill you with peace! I trust your time in Rome be filled with joy and deepen your love of the universal Church. God bless you all!

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Pope Benedict XVI - Bishop of Rome, 661 869-1000

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Keywords

Pope, Benedict, Angelus, Life, Abortion, Family

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